Gambling Review

The Footy Show is a WYSIWYG affair.

It’s jocular and jovial, often irreverent, and sometimes controversial. It also has segments and moments, however, where it takes on a serious air.

I don’t watch it religiously anymore, but decided to tune in last night to see what I thought would be one of those serious moments: how Garry Lyon would handle the questioning that would surely come his way regarding “Jurrah-gate”.

When I turned the TV on, the Footy Show had already started, and I just caught James Brayshaw closing off the discussion. I can’t be sure, but given what Brayshaw said, it appears that Lyon’s reaction was a non-event.

I continued to watch however, and after some minutes there came more seriousness in the form of a Damian Barrett report into the gambling review being held by the AFL, and I’ve got to say, I was a little surprised with Lyon’s response to it.

During the report, Barrett stated that the review has so far identified 10 people who are associated with AFL Clubs in some administrative capacity and who may have gambled on games, which as everyone should now know, is a contravention of AFL policy.

Lyon’s response was something like, “It’s a disgrace that in this day and age, despite all the education and promotion about not gambling on games, there are still 10 people who did.”

On the surface, his response seems natural, but it is a response that trivializes the plight of problem gamblers. These 10 people have not been identified as such, and may very well not be, but it is the lack of depth in Lyon’s thought process that disappointed me.

What Lyon’s response suggests is that refraining from gambling is simply a matter of intelligence and that not doing so is deliberately recalcitrant behavior.

But problem gambling dulls intelligence, and problem gamblers gamble through irrational compulsion rather than calculated obstinacy.  Any opportunity for a win is taken, the consequences be damned. Broken marriages, neglected children, bankruptcies, jail terms and even suicides affirm this.

If only behavioural change was as simple as drafting well-worded statements and promoting them.

Sadly though, that is not the case, and in my opinion, the response from Lyon shows a lack of depth that suggests that those who have worked tirelessly thus far to develop a broader community awareness and understanding of how complex and destructive gambling can be, still have some work to do.


  1. Ben Footner says

    What I found interesting was that not 15 minutes after discussing this topic they proceeded to show the odds for the NAB Cup Final.

    Football just can’t have the best of both worlds on this issue IMO. If the AFL doesn’t want gambling to compromise the game, then they have to ban gambling advertising during their telecasts/broadcasts.

  2. Not to mention the advertisement for TAB Sportsbet that came in the ad-break around five minutes later!

  3. Skip of Skipton says

    With respect in concern to your thrust, Pete, I don’t reckon the 10 people mentioned by the AFL and reported on the Footy Show by D.Barrett are your pitiful adrenalin-junkie ‘problem gamblers’. More likely the calculating insider trading type. All Lyon was doing was re-inforcing the dogma, the party line etc.

    I don’t think the term ‘problem gambler’ was in the lexicon or part of our broader consciousness, on our TV ads etc., until maybe 15 odd years ago, after the introduction of pokies into Victoria had taken effect. There’s the scourge you need to be fighting.

  4. Andrew Else says

    I completely agree with Skip. Its drawing a fair bow to assume that all of (or any) of the 10 mentioned are slaves to their own impulses. Same way that a group of drunk people in the pub are not neccessarily alcoholics.

    I didn’t see the show, but I can imagine how Gary would say that as he’s said similar things in the past in regards to footballers betting.

    Please don’t think that I’m trivialising gambling addiction. I realise that there are folk out there who through no fault of their own have found themselves in desperate circumstances. However, to suggest that someone can’t comment (or in this case, comment strongly) about a rule breach because there is a small chance that a problem gambler in the sample is a bit much.

  5. When writing this, I was trying not to suggest that the “10” were “problem gamblers”. It was more the lack of thought in the quick fire response.

    I would have thought a more appropriate response would have been, “Thanks Damian. I personally find it incredible that 10 people could be under review given everything that’s happened in the last 18 months, but I’m not sure of the circumstances. I’d be staggered if it was through stupidity and ignorance is no longer an excuse, so I can only assume there are more deep-seated issues there and I hope they get the support they need if that’s the case. If not, they deserve everything that’s coming their way.”

    This is not about tbeing idealogical. It’s about being aware of wider social issues and how what we say and do affects peoples’ perceptions about those things. This particularly applies to people in the pubic eye.

    To me, Lyon’s comments equate to a guilty verdict which taints the jury before the evidence is given.

  6. John Butler says

    The Footy Show isn’t about considered comment. It’s about showbiz and the commercial presentation of football.

  7. watt price tully says

    THe forty show & serious comment? I this a joke? The show is a misogynist tripe, cashed up brogans in suits.

    While I don’t agree with all of the things Deveny writes she got tho in one about the footy show:

    “I HAVE JUST WATCHED three episodes of The Footy Show and I feel like Sammy Davis jnr at a Ku Klux Klan rally, like Dannii Minogue at a Mensa convention, like George Pell in 2007.

    I’m not into plants but I like Gardening Australia, I’m not into quiz shows but I like The Einstein Factor, I’m not into cars but I like Top Gear, so not being into footy isn’t the reason that I’m repelled by this destructive, small-minded, morally bankrupt orgy of chauvinism. The Footy Show is a celebration of the very worst that television, sport, Australia and human beings can cook up. It’s offensive, toxic, corrosive, encouraging viewers to be stupid, shallow and sexist. Sit down, shut up and hang on. And ladies, bring a plate.

    The Footy Show is nothing more than media-sanctioned misogyny. And so much less. Tune in and you’ll feel you’ve woken up in 1952. A man in a full body condom, men dressed as women, girls in bikinis, guys stuffing toilet paper down their jocks, dickheads, wankers and yobs. The few women that I did see were leered at, one called “a bitch” and another told to “get f—ed” (both by Sam Newman). I heard the word “sheilas” and could sense that the words “poofters”, “wogs”, “slopes” and “spastics” were just below the surface.

    Is it the program, the network, the culture of Australian television, or just Newman that is so offensive? It’s all of them. But Newman really needs to be singled out for his extraordinary contribution to this tragic, puerile, adolescent show that degrades the culture of football, alienates women and teaches boys that females are slaves, trophies or bitches.

    No wonder young footballers are taking drugs. How else can they reconcile this bizarre world with real life? And what’s with the suits? Some pathetic attempt to bring respectability to this sad little show? Fat chance.

    Newman is vain, ugly, a megalomaniac, a bully. I can’t help feeling that deep inside he would be happy for women to have their brains removed and replaced with a bar fridge. He’s a dangerous bloke who’s paid a lot of money to defile our culture and undermine our intelligence in the most putrid of fashions. For any of you who have sat surrounded by people laughing at this maggot and found yourself thinking there is something wrong with you, there isn’t. There’s something wrong with him. And them.

    The Footy Show catapults sexism into an extreme sport. Football shows don’t have to be a cross between a buck’s night and a lynching. …….”

    From Catherine Deveny 1970.

    The AFL is hopelessly conflicted with respect to gambling & their income stream, so too are clubs Not now the roos apparently. Problem gambling should be seen like motor vehicle accidents. It doesn’t merely affect individuals it affects families, groups, & communities

  8. Peter Baulderstone says

    I would agree with you Watt, and with Deveny, but that would be a waste of time and keystrokes.
    My remote control finger long ago found the answer. Carn the Mighty Marngrooks.

  9. watt price tully says

    Apologies. My post above noted 1970 for Deveney’s article, should be 2007. What was I thinking?

  10. I avoid the Footy Show because I find it juvenile. Catherine Deveny, however, can and will find sexism in a blade of grass.

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